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International Conference “Golden Mountains of Altai –Our Common Heritage” has been closed in Ulaanbaatar

Between 3−5 July, the international conference was held in the capital of Mongolia that focused on the issues of establishing Golden Mountains of Altai as the serial transnational natural and cultural World Heritage property. Delegations from Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the Russian Federation agreed to proceed together towards an extension of the current property. Under the same name the future property will include additional components located in China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia and become a mixed transnational serial property.

Conference organizers was the Ministry of Environment and Green Development of Mongolia and UNESCO National Commission of Mongolia with the support of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and WWF Mongolia.

The conference was attended by 32 participants - representatives of governmental agencies, scientific and public organizations from China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, representatives of UNESCO and IUCN.


Historical Background

Transboundary expansion of the Golden Mountains of Altai property was recommended by the World Heritage Committee at the moment of its inscription on the List on the 22 session of the Committee in 1998.

Between 2009−2012, a number of working meetings were held with the representatives of scientific and public environmental organizations from four neighboring countries:

During these meetings, definite steps have been taken to prepare the nomination files, such as: determining prospective areas for ‘Golden Mountains of Altai’ extension; proposing the criteria for their nomination; making up formal letters to dedicated organizations of four countries with an appeal to provide an official support in establishing a transnational WH property. In the gap between the meetings, the applications were prepared to include areas in Kazakhstan and Mongolia to the Tentative Lists of the countries, as well as nomination files with respect to Kazakhstan.

The People’s Republic of China joined the international project at the end of 2012 with its China Altai property already inscribed on the Tentative List and a separate nomination ready for submission. 

In 2012, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) joined the project and expressed a readiness to provide assistance in holding a set of working meetings to prepare the transnational nomination.

As a result, the meeting held in Ulaanbaatar became a milestone in the Altai project implementation — it was the first time when representatives of official government agencies from all countries involved in the project participated in its discussion. The meeting ended up with taking some fundamental decisions on project implementation, developing the timeline to prepare serial transnational nomination ’Golden Mountains of Altai’ and appointing responsible persons. 

The following properties are proposed to be included in the Golden Mountains of Altai transnational property:

  • on the part of Kazakhstan: Katon-Karagay National Park, Markakol Nature Reserve, West Altai Nature Reserve, Historical-cultural museum “Berel”;
  • on the part of China: Kanas National Nature Reserve and Two Rivers’ Headwaters Nature Reserve of Altai;
  • on the part of Mongolia: Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, Siilkhemiin Nuruu National Park, Munkh Khairakhan, Myangan Ugalzat, Tsambgarav National Park, Achit Nur, Devlii Aral Nature Reserve, Chivertei Gol National Park, Khukhserkhiin Mountain Striktly Protected Area and Ongog National Park;
  • on the part of Russia: the possibility to extend the current property at the expense of  Sailyugemsky National Park is being discussed. 

The Natural Heritage Protection Fund will develop the nomination of Sailyugemsky NP and also act as advisor of the international project.